Glenda Cleveland Net Worth: Netflix’s latest true crime series, “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” dives into the chilling world of one of America’s most notorious serial killers. From 1978 to 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer horrifically took the lives of 17 young boys and men. He eventually faced arrest in 1992. The series masterfully portrays Dahmer’s haunting saga, his victims and their families, and the deeply troubling lapses within the American justice system that allowed his reign of terror to persist.
While this isn’t the first time Dahmer’s story has graced the screen, the recent Netflix drama has encountered significant criticism for its failure to engage with those still affected by Dahmer’s heinous acts, among other concerns. Outraged voices, including family members of Dahmer’s victims, have taken to social media to express their dismay at Netflix’s lack of consultation and the distressing rehashing of traumatic events. Among the figures returning to the limelight is Glenda Cleveland, a neighbor of Dahmer whose relentless attempts to intervene were reportedly overlooked by law enforcement.
In the Netflix adaptation, Niecy Nash brilliantly portrays Cleveland, a pivotal yet enigmatic figure in the Dahmer case. Despite her significance, information about her remains scant. So, who is Glenda Cleveland?
About Glenda Cleveland
Born into a family of nine children, Cleveland was raised on a farm. She was instilled with values of honesty and lending a hand to those in need by her parents. While residing with her 17-year-old daughter, Sandra Smith, she held a data entry position in Milwaukee, as detailed by USA Today. Contrary to popular belief, Cleveland wasn’t living next door to Dahmer at the Oxford apartments. She resided in a nearby building, while Dahmer’s actual neighbor was Pamela Bass, another African-American woman.
Cleveland, a crucial player in Dahmer’s story, spent her days in the 25th Street apartment until 2009 before relocating to a place less than a mile away, according to USA Today. Bass, the recipient of Dahmer’s sandwich offers, shared her story in “The Jeffery Dahmer Files.” However, the show appears to have melded elements of her persona with Cleveland’s character, omitting Bass’ involvement. Glenda Cleveland and Community Ignored by Law Enforcement According to an interview with Cleveland’s niece, Nicole Childress, from 2020, in May 1991, Childress and Smith stumbled upon a disoriented 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone attempting to flee Dahmer’s apartment complex.
Despite Sinthasomphone’s drugged state and evident injuries, he managed to regain consciousness and venture out for help. Upon the police’s arrival, they dismissed the incident as a lovers’ quarrel, ignoring pleas from the women to aid Sinthasomphone. Tragically, both the police and Dahmer escorted Sinthasomphone back to the apartment, sealing his grim fate.
“We tried to give the policemen our names, but he just told us to butt out,” Smith recounted to the Associated Press during Dahmer’s apprehension. Smith couldn’t fathom why the officer wasn’t interested in their identities, exclaiming, “What are you going to do about this? This is a boy.”
In contrast to the Netflix rendition, Cleveland wasn’t present when her daughter and niece encountered Sinthasomphone. Nevertheless, she persistently called the police in vain attempts to alert them. A pivotal phone conversation captures Cleveland seeking answers from an officer about the ongoing situation. Cleveland: “Yeah, uh, what happened? I mean my daughter and my niece witnessed what was going on. Was anything done about the situation? Do you need their names or information or anything from them?” Officer: “No, not at all.” Cleveland: “You don’t?” Officer: “Nope. It was an intoxicated boyfriend of another boyfriend.” Cleveland: “Well, how old was this child?” Officer: “It wasn’t a child. It was an adult.” Cleveland: “Are you sure?” Officer: “Yup.”
Discovering missing person posters for Konerak Sinthasomphone, Cleveland made repeated calls to the police and even the FBI. Tragically, no one heeded her warnings, and Dahmer claimed five more victims in the aftermath. Had authorities acted on Cleveland’s suspicions, they would have uncovered Dahmer’s prior conviction for molesting Konerak Sinthasomphone’s older brother, Anouke.
Consequences for the Neglectful Officers
The officers who responded to Childress’ emergency call included John Balcerzak, Joseph Gabrish, and Richard Porubcan. Despite Dahmer’s claims that he and Sinthasomphone were embroiled in a domestic dispute, the three officers escorted them back to Dahmer’s apartment. Although the apartment emitted a putrid odor, attributed to a bowel movement, Gabrish dismissed it. Later that night, it was Balcerzak who handled Cleveland’s call, dismissively brushing off her concerns and categorizing the incident as a lovers’ spat involving a legal adult.
Following public outrage post-Dahmer’s arrest, two officers, Balcerzak and Gabrish, were terminated. Porubcan faced dismissal and probation, with leniency granted due to his inexperience and lesser culpability. Balcerzak and Gabrish were let go for “acts of omission,” including their failure to document witnesses’ names and neglecting the care of an obviously incapacitated Sinthasomphone.
In 1995, Milwaukee offered the Sinthasomphone family a settlement of $850,000, as reported by the Spokesman-Review. However, the officers appealed their termination a year earlier and were reinstated, each receiving $55,000 in back pay. In 2005, Balcerzak assumed the role of Milwaukee Police Association president, while Gabrish retired after serving as interim police chief of the Grafton Police Department in Wisconsin. Glenda Cleveland’s Legacy In the aftermath of Dahmer’s arrest, Cleveland garnered accolades from the Common Council and County Board. Reverend Jesse Jackson visited her, condemning the police’s trust in a killer over an innocent woman.